Creative rituals

I’ve gotten to the point where I very seldom listen to music at home because I so value the silence. So today I’ve been going through my extensive CD collection in an attempt to weed it down to a more reasonable size given how little it is used. In the process, I’ve been listening to some of these old CDs again today to help me choose the ones to keep and the ones to get rid of.

As I’ve gone through this exercise today, I’ve been fascinated to discover the impact I’m noticing on my creative work as I have music going in the background. I’m so used to writing and creating in silence now that I kept finding even the quietest instrumental music to be a distraction!

I also noticed that it had the opposite effect when I was doing chores about that house. Having that bit of music going in the background helped keep me motivated to stay active as I cleaned. It had little or not effect on things like reading emails, scanning through Facebook, dealing with paperwork, or reading a book.

Creative work was different, though. I kept feeling distracted and anxious during those times of my day, even if the music playing at the time was soft, soothing, instrumental melodies.

This hasn’t always been the case for me. (Although I’ve never been good at writing tasks when listening to music with lyrics in English. I am too caught up in the words of the song to pay attention to what I’m trying to say.) For many years, soft instrumental music in the background was like white noise that helped me focus.

I think the primary change for me is just a change in habit. I’ve trained myself to do my creative work in silence. It’s part of how I now “set the scene” and prepare myself to bring forth whatever is ready to be expressed, either in writing or in my jewelry making.

As I’ve noticed this, I’ve begun looking for other pseudo-rituals that I’ve created that tell me that it’s time to sink into that creative space. I’ve already realized that location and time of day for certain activities factor strongly into my patterns. I’m sure there are more things that I am not yet aware of.

I didn’t set out to create any of these patterns, but they have clearly emerged anyway. Now I’m thinking about whether there are other ones that I want to create (or existing ones that I want to modify) to further support my creative work.

What are your patterns or rituals that cue your own mind that it’s time for creative work?

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6 thoughts on “Creative rituals

  1. I suspect you’re right about habit, especially those that we don’t set out to create but emerge more organically. I have to say that the making of a warm drink – coffee or tea, either – is one of those rituals for me. I make warm drinks at other points in the day, but setting the creative stage is defnitely one of them…

    • Thanks for sharing! A warm beverage is definitely a part of setting the stage for writing, but it’s not a part of my jewelry making process for some reason.

  2. Hi KJ,

    I typically don’t set the stage or set a ritual before I write, but I find that sometimes I hear the words in my head and I just have to get it down. Those moments make writing easy, but sometimes when I am feeling blocked I. Some way, I meditate for a bit and let the words flow.

  3. I’m totally going to make you a “house cleaning/FB checking” DJ mix. Ask Callie about how relentless I am in imposing my musical tastes on others…

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